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The progenitors of the MacrTaghtens and MacNeills formed part of that swarm of Scots which 
alighted on the Antrim coast in the sixteenth century. They came, as moat other immigrants of 
that period, under the auspices of the MacDonnells. Multitudes from the Highlands and Isles of 
Scotland followed the fortunes of Alexander Carraek'- MacDonnell, encouraged by his genius as a 
military leader, and the protection which his influence in Ulster was able to secure. To that 
chieftain, indeed, wily and fierce though he was, may, to a large extent, be ascribed the introduction 
of the Scottish element into our population, which afterwards, in more peaceful times, contributed 
so much to the prosperity of this northern province. 11 

The MacDonnells, with their connexions and adherents, in coming to our coast, were seeking 
a country from which their ancestors, the Dalriadic colonists, had gone forth upwards of a 

* The epithet Carrack, or scabbed, was frequently applied 
to Irish chieftains also. Br. Reeves, in his " Account of 

the Crannogo of Innishrush and its Ancient Occupants" 
(Proceedings of E. I. Academy, vol. vii. p. 163,} mentions 
several instances in which it was employed to designate 
chiefs of the O'Neills, who lived between 1387 and 1586. 
The several corrupted forms of this epithet, as applied in 
the sense of nicknames, have puzzled most readers of our 
earlier Annals. Mr. Hans Hamilton, in the Preface to his 
admirable Calendar of State Papers, lately published, asks 
distractedly, " is hairy, or harry, or charrie, or charrie the 
right way of spelling the epithet at the end of the long 
name Alexander OgeMcAlester Charrie?" 

b The late Rev. Dr. Reid, in his excellent History of the 
Presbyterian Church in Ireland, chap. 1, note 5, describes 
the Scots who came with the MacDonnells in the sixteenth 
century as "piratical marauders, and Roman Catholics, 
from, the westewi islands," and takes occasion to warn his 
readers that they are not to be " confounded with those 
who came over at the Plantation of Ulster" But although 
the former were soldiers, compelled to follow their chiefs 
when summoned, they were something more. They were 
industrious folks, who made the most of their own barren 
hills, and who, when they came to Antrim, soon proved 
their natural adaptation to agricultural -pursuits. When 

Sir Henry Sidney visited the North, La the year 1575, he 
seeni9 to have been rather taken by surprise, on witnessing 
their comfortable condition. In writing to the Council in 
England, he says : " The Glynns and Route I found pos- 
sessed by the Scottes, and nowe governed by Sorley Boy. 
The comntrie Julie of come and cattle, and the Scottes very 
hatotie and proud, by reason of the late victories he hath 
had against our men, fynding the baseness of their courage.*' 
Now, we venture to aflLrm, that those earlier comers, 
— although " Iioman Catholics," and, to some extent, 
" marauders" — will contrast favourably with the people 
who came at the time of the Plantation, Of the latter, the 
Rev. Andrew Stewart has left the following record: — 
" From Scotland came many, and from England not a few, 
yet all of them, generally, the scum of both nations, — who 
from debt, or breaking, or feeing from justice, or seeking 
shelter, came hither, hoping to be without fear of man's justice 
in a land where there was nothing, or but little, as 
yet, of the fear of God.'* The writer of the above was 
Presbyterian minister at Donaghadee from 1645 to 1671, 
and thus able to speak from personal knowledge on ques- 
tions of this nature. He is not likely to have exaggerated 
the sins of his own people. Dr. Reid cites him frequently, 
and has honestly quoted the passage given above. 


thousand years before. From about the middle of the third to the beginning of the sixth century", 
various companies of emigrants departed from the Antrim shores, and eventually succeeded in 
forming a kingdom in North Britain, Which included Cantire, Knapdale, Argyle, Lorn, Braidalbane, 
and the "Western Isles or Hebrides. Among these early invaders of Britain were ancestors of the 
MacDonnells, and of the other principal Scottish families who came with them to Antrim in the 
sixteenth century. It is curious that, daring the violent disputes between the Earls of Antrim and 
Argyle, in the reign of Charles I., Antrim laid claim to Argyle's estates in Cantire, which, the 
former declared, had belonged to his family for thirteen eentwie»,—or from soon after the settlement 
of the first colony in Britain, under Cairbre Riada, in the year 258. 

But although the MaoNaghtens and MacNeills came to the Antrim coast during the chieftain- 
ship of Alexander Carrach MacDonnell, they cannot be said to have had local habitations or names 
here, until the time of his grandson, Randall MacDonnell. The latter, if not the most distinguished, 
was certainly one of the most fortunate, of his race. Although a rebel and an outlaw in his youth, 
his age was crowned with honours. His elder brother, James, died at Dunluce, in March, 1601 ; 
and Randall, who had married the daughter of the groat insurgent chief, Hugh O'Neill, continued with 
him as an active coadjutor, until the final struggle at Kinsale convinced Mm of the utter ruin of 
the native cause. He had taken the family position of his brother James, probably according to the 
arrangement in such cases required by the tanist law ; but he had also seized the inheritance which 
his brother's eldest son afterwards claimed as the rightful heir. By a timely submission to the 
Government, Randall was permitted to hold the estates : and although the English law regulating 
succession to property was immediately afterwards introduced into this country, the nephew was 
unable to assert his claim. Randall's submission to the Government was, no doubt, the more 

c This young man did not submit to be thus set aside present when Sir James McDonell, Knight, was married 
without a vigorous attempt to uphold his claim. It would unto Mary M c Neill, [rather O'Neill,] of Galchoane, in the 
appear that he appealed, in the first instance, to the newly O'Neve, in the lands of dandonels, beyonde the Bande, 
introduced law of England, regulating succession to estates, by the Lord Bishop ; and that Donell Oge M c Fee and 
but was met by his uncle on the plea that James MacDonnell Bryan O'Lavertye, with divers others, were present at the 
had not been legally married, and that his children, there- said Marriadge,andfenoweth thereof: and this is the cause 
fore, were illegitimate. It is said that there exist certain of our knowledge that Alexander M^Donell is the lawful 
curious manuscript documents relating to this question in sonne and heir of the said Sr. James M°Donell, Knight. — 
the possession of descendants of James MacDonnell. The Witness our hands, this 26th of February, 1609. 
original of the following "Certificatt" is preserved among 
the Records of Carrickfergus, and is the only document, so 
far as we know, that has yet come to light in connexion with 
that grave family dispute. It was printed in M'Slimmin's 
History: — 

"Knowe all men to whom these presents shall come to 
be heard, reade, or seene, that we, Gory M«Henry and " G. M C H." 

Canal! O'Hara, Esqnyers, doe hereby testifye, that we weare The above seems to have been a highly respectable doeu- 


cordial, as Elizabeth had died, and was succeeded by James VI. of Sbotland; for the chiefs of the 
Clan Donnell in Ulster had always yielded whatever amount of allegiance they could conveniently 
afford to the Scottish rather than to the English monarch. This fact was not unknown to James, 
and was not without its effect in quickly establishing cordial relations between his Government and 
the Antrim chief. The result was, that the latter, during the very first year of James's reign in 
England, (1608,) received a plenary grant of the Route and Glynns, a territory extending from 
Larne to Coleraine, and comprising about three hundred and thirty-four thousand aerea, statute 
measure. These vast estates inoluded the parishes of Coleraine, Ballyaghran,#BallywiIlen, 
Ballyrashane, Dunluce, Kildollagh, Ballintoy, Billy, Derrykeighan, Loughgill, Ballymoney, 
Kilraghts, Einvoy, Rasharkin, Dunaghy, Ramoan, Annoy, Culfeightrin, Layd, Ardclinis, Tiekma- 
crevan, Templeoughter, Solar, Carncastle, Killyglen, Kilwaughter, and Larne, together with the 
Granges of Layd, Innispollan, and Drumtullagh, and the Island of Rathlin. The Antrim property, 
as originally granted to Randall MacDonnell, thus comprehended seven baronies, viz.: North-East 
Liberties of Coleraine, Lower Dunluce, Upper Dunluce, Kilconway, Carey, Lower Glenarm, and 
Upper Glenarm. 

The lord of these broad lands, therefore, may well be described as a fortunate man, when it is 
remembered that not only had he done nothing to earn this magnificent grant from the English 
Government, but he had actually spent his youth in open and formidable rebellion. Cairbre Riada, 
a prince descended from the same family as the MacDonnells, had been granted, by the monarch of 
Ireland, in the third century, the territory extending along the Antrim coast, from the present 
village of Glynn to Bushmills, as a reward for his valour and fidelity in extinguishing a Pictish 

ment, and it certainly places the fact of the marriage in a Ballogh O'Neill, and Aodh Buidhe, or Hugh Boy n., who 
very clear and indisputable light. At an Inquisition held was slain, in 1444- His successor, Brian O'Neill, died of 
at Ballymena, in 1639, the name of " Cahall O'Hara, of small pox, in 1488, and was followed by Domhnall Donn, 
L. Kane, Gent," is mentioned as one of the grand jury. the founder of the ClandomwUs, mentioned in the marriage 
The McHenrys ranked also among the gentry of that period, certificate already quoted. He was succeeded by Shane 
James, probably the son of "Gory" above-named, was a rebel Dubh O'Neill; and Shane by Cormac O'Neill. Cormao's 
leader in 1641, and was present at the battle of the Laney, successor was Brian Carrach O'Neill, who died about 1586, 
near Ballymoney, on Friday, the 11th of February, 1642. leaving two sons and at least one daughter. This account 
The family of Mary O'Neill (probably grand-daughter to of Brian Carrach's descent is abridged from a most interest- 
Bryan Carrach O'Neill,) was of noble rank ; and it is not likely ing paper by Dr. Beeves, printed in the Proc: of the E. I. 
that she would consent to live with Sir James M c Donnell on Academy, vol. vii. p. 215. 

any other than reputable and legitimate terms. She was Alexander MacDonnell was probably soon convinced that 

descended from Aedh Buidhe, or Hugh Boy I., who was the he had nothing to hope from going to law with his uncle : 

founder of the house of Clannaboy, and whom the O'Neffls and, therefore, he appealed, in the second instance, to arms, 

of Shane's Castle and the Bann-side claimed as their com- This still more hopeless attempt was made in 1614. Of the 

mon ancestor. He was slain in 1283, and succeeded by his details we know nothing, farther than that the insurrection 

son Brian, who also was slain, in 1295. After him came, in caused some uneasiness to the Government, and ended 

succession, Henry O'Neill, Muircertach O'Neill, Brian without bringing redress to the party aggrieved. 


rebellion throughout Ulster ; but Eandall MacDonnell received the much larger and more valuable 
possessions above mentioned, simply because he laid down Ms rebellious arms in good time, and with 
a good grace, when all hope of being able to wield them successfully had perished. The Govern- 
ment, however, had no reason to regret or repent its generosity in this instance ; as Eandall, from 
the moment of submission became, and continued to be, a loyal subject and a steady co-operator 
with the constituted authorities in the promotion of all measures supposed to be for the improve- 
ment of the country. Having obtained full and legal possession of his estates, he rejoiced to see 
the barbarous old customs of Tanistry and Gavelkind swept away, and the Brehon Law, in all its 
branches, utterly abolished. His object was now to enjoy his property in peace, and to improve it 
for transmission to his children: so it may be imagined with what delight he witnessed the institu- 
tion of circuits in Ulster, and the advent, twice in the year, of itinerant judges, for the due and 
regular administration of justice. Honours were showered in quick succession on this fortunate 
descendant of Heremon ; and perhaps, in the long line of ancestral chiefs, few, if any, were per- 
mitted such undisturbed enjoyment of life as he. In May, 1618, he was created Viscount Dunluce, 
a title drawn from the well-known castle on the coast, from which his father, Somhairle Buidhe, 
or Sorley Boy, had expelled the MacQuillans. In June, 1619, he was admitted as a member of his 
Majesty's Privy Council in Ireland, and at the same time appointed to the command of a regiment. 
In December, 1620, he was created Earl of Antrim. The grant of lands received from James I. 
was confirmed by Charles I. To promote peace and improvement on his estates, the first Earl of 
Antrim gave extensive fee-farm grants to the heads of certain Scottish families of respectability, 
whose ancestors had occupied such lands during the latter part of the sixteenth century. He also 
introduced a number of other families from Scotland, in addition to those already settled. To pro- 
vide comfortable positions for the latter, the Irish population was either removed to barren districts 
— of which there were many on the estates — or transported to other partB of the kingdom. 11 

d Among the people thus removed was the remnant of the action is recorded in a manuscript possessed by the Antrim 

MacQuillans, once the reigning family in the Route. As a family, and cited by the Kev. William Hamilton in his 

sort of equivalent for what they had lost, James I. granted Letters concerning the Northern Coast of £he County of 'Antrim. 

them lands in the barony of Innishowen, which had formed The concluding passage, as quoted by Mr. Hamilton, is as 

part cu* the estates of the great rebel chief, CahirO'Doherty. follows: — "The estate he [MacQuillan] got in exchange 

Sir Arthur Chichester was the chief agent iD arranging this for the barony of Enishowen was called Clanreaghurhie* 

matter with the unfortunate Rory Oge MacQuillan. The which was far inadequate to support the old hospitality of 

latter was unable to face the difficulty of transporting all the MacQuillans. Bory Oge MacQuillan sold this land to 

his wretched people over the Bann and Lough Foyle, and one of Chichester's relations ; and having got his new 

Chichester craftily persuaded him to cede his title to the granted estate into one bag, was very generous and hospi* 

barony of Innishowen, by an offer of certain lands very table as long as the bag lasted. And thus was the worthy 

inferior in value, but lying nearer the Route. This trans- MacQuillan soon extinguished." 

« "At present," (1790) adds Mr. Hamilton, "it is called from his neighbours by the ludicrous title of King IfocQuiBan." 
Clanaghurtie. The descendant of MacQuillan is still to be found " Tulit alter honoree. " 
there among the lowest rank of the people, and only distinguished 


Among the Scottish families thus specially encouraged were the MacNaghUm, whose repre- 
sentative then was Shane Dhu, or Black John MacWaghten, the Earl's chief agent and faithful 
assistant in all matters connected with the regulation and improvement of the Antrim property. 
Indeed, their families were closely allied by intermarriages in Scotland. The MaoNaghtens claim 
a long line of ancestors, not a few of whom were illustrious in their generations; and there is scarcely 
a period of the written or legendary history of Ireland and Scotland in which this name, in some 
form, does not appear. 

In the Books pf Lecan and Ballymote are two accounts of the first appearing of the Cruithniant, 
or Piett, in Ireland. These legendary histories — one of which is written in prose, and the other 
in verse-^were added to the Eutoria Britonum of Nennius, probably about the year 1050, and have 
been translated by the Rev. Dr. Todd in connexion with that work. To the above very curious 
tracts we are indebted for the earliest existing notice of the progenitor of the AfaoNaghtens. 
According to both accounts, the Picts originally came from Thrace. The company or association 
of colonists consisted of three hundred and nine persons, under the superintendence of six brothers, 
one of whom was named Neehtain. Another of the brothers, called Trostan,' was the Druid or 
priest of the expedition. They came in three ships ; and, unlike other colonists, who generally 
landed in Britain and from thence reached Ireland sooner or later, the Picts steered direct for 
" Eri, the delightful." Here they became a powerful tribe, so muoh so, indeed, that Seremon, 
the first king of the Scoti in Ireland, bribed them to depart, lest they should eventually become so 
strong as to dispute his sovereignty, and " make battle for Teamhair [Tara] as a possession." 

"Whoever was the original chronicler of these cventB, which were passing about a thousand 
years before the Christian era, he evidently regretted the departure of that Pictish colony from 
Ireland. After describing, in terms somewhat obscure to modern apprehension, what he considered 
their superior civilization, the ancient writer exclaims, as if in the spirit of regret : — 

" They passed away from us 

"With the splendour of swiftness, 

To dwell by valour 

In the beautiful land of He." 
Whilst in Ireland they had taught, " in a fair and well-walled house," certain branches of know- 
ledge, which our translators term " necromancy and idolatry, druidism, plundering in ships, bright 
poems," and which probably constituted a course of education in astronomy, navigation, general 
literature, and religion. "Among their sons were no thieves" — a very excellent and rare quality 
among human beings. "Hills and rocks they prepared for the plough," which was a solid 
argument for their remaining in teland. But they were compelled, according to the terms of 

e This name still survives, as applied to a mountain in tile neighbourhood of Cushendail, on which there are the 
remains of an ancient Cairn. 


their arrangement with the Irian monarch, to take their departure, carrying with them their know- 
ledge and industry to Isla, the principal island of the five which anciently constituted the Ebudae 
or Hebrides. Isla was the ancient Epidium; and in medieval times was, for a long period, the 
principal place of residence for the Lords of the Isles. Of the four other islands then constituting 
the Hebrides, two were called Ebuda, one Malos (Mull), and one Ehicina (Rathlin). These 
islands now constitute what are known as the Inner Hebrides, lying close to the Scottish 
coast, and separated from the outer group by the channel called the Mineh. The four princi- 
pal ones were Isla, Skye, Mull, and Jura, besides others of much smaller dimensions. The fact 
that Rathlin was regarded as one of the five islands known as the Ebudae, is evidence of its early 
importance. Its position must, indeed, have rendered it a very much frequented place during those 
remote times, when colonists were moving so incessantly between the shores of Eri and Alba. 

From the Hebrides the Picts afterwards spread themselves over the greater part of Scotland, 
and became a powerful people. They were the chief opponents of the Dalriadic colonists, 
and succeeded occasionally in expelling the latter from North Britain. In the long list of Fictish 
kings we find the name of Neehtain occurring more than once ; and the femily, no doubt, occupied 
a high position during the whole period of the existence of the Pictish nation. 

Before leaving Ireland, the Picts requested Heremon to grant them wives from among his 
subjects, as a means of perpetuating the alliance then formed; and promised, at the same time, that 
on the posterity of the women thus granted, all the future Pictish acquisitions would devolve. This 
arrangement seeps to have been the groundwork of the Pictish polity ever afterwards. There is a 
curious passage from Solinus,' quoted by the writer of Appendix xvii. to the Irish version of the 
Historia Britonum of Nennius, which evidently implies the existence of this peculiarity. The 
passage is as follows : — 

"As you go from the Foreland of Calidonia (the Mull of Galloway) towards Thyle, in two 
days' sail you reach the islands of Hebudae, five in number, of which tho inhabitants subsist on 
fish and m il k . They all (the islands) have but one king, for they are divided by narrow waters 
from each other. The king has nothing of his own : all things belong to all. Fixed laws compel 
him to equity ; and, lest avarice should pervert him from truth, he learns justice from poverty, as 
having no private possessions. But he is maintained at the public expense. STo wife is given to 
him for his own ; but he takes for his use, by turns, whatsoever woman he is inclined to, by which 
meam he is debarred from the wish and hope of having sons." This account is substantially con- 
firmed by the venerable Bede, who, in his monastery at Weymouth, near Durham, on the borders 
of the Pictish territories, had ample means of knowing the political constitution of their empire. 
He dwells particularly on the preference given to the female line, from the earliest record of the 

I Solinus la supposed to have lived in the first half of the end statements of Pliny on geographical questions. Pliny 
third century, and to haye adopted pretty freely the opinions names Rathlin Bimia. 


Piots as a nation, — a preference founded, no doubt, on the original arrangement represented by the 
legendary account as having been entered into prior to their departure from Ireland, -with their 
three hundred wives. 8 

From the nature of the Pictish polity in this respect, it is evident that no family, however 
influential, could aspire to a permanent, or even frequent, occupation of the throne. The fact, 
however, that the NecUain race furnished three sovereigns, at long intervals, to the nation, is evi- 
dence that they were one of the governing families in Pictland. The first was Nechtain-mor-lreae, 
who reigned thirty-four years. To him succeeded eight kings, derived from different families ; 
and the ninth was Nechtain II., who reigned twenty years. This sovereign, about the year 608, 
founded the church of Abernethy. After him came nine sovereigns, from nine various families ; 
and the tenth was another Nechtain, who reigned ten years. When the Picts beoame powerful as 
a nation in North Britain, they returned once more to the coasts of Ulster, and in Antrim they 
were able to establish themselves from the sea to the shores of Lough Neagh. Their rebellion 
against Cormao O'Cuinn, monarch of Ireland, in the third century, led to the expulsion of their 
colonies from Ulster, but did not prevent their occasional hostile incursions ; and from that period 
to the end of the eighth century the annals of Ireland record many fierce encounters between them 
and the northern Irish. During the period now mentioned, the Nechtains figure in the Annals of 
Ulster as chiefs, having the prefix Mac to their names, denoting offspring or descendants. We 
road of the slaving of a MacNaghUn, in the year 634 ; of the battle of Druim-Nechtain, in 685 ; 
of the death of Fergus MacNechtain, in 689 ; of the death of Alpin MacNechtain, in 692 ; and of 
several conflicts between the Cruithnians, or Picts, and the people of Ulster, in which members of 
this family were engaged. One of the earliest recorded names of Newry is Iolhar Chinn Choi- 
che mhie Neachtain. h 

When the Dalriadic kingdom in North Britain finally absorbed the Pictish possessions, in the 
reign of Kenneth MacAlpin, the MacNeehtains, or MaeNaghtens, re-appeared as one of the oldest 
and most influential of the Scottish clans. Their territory lay in Argyleshire, and, as thanes of 
Lochtay, they ruled supreme on the shores of Loehfine and Lochaw. Alexander III. of Scotland 
issued a patent, granting to Oillechrist MaoNaghten and his heirs the Castle and Island of 
Fraoch Film, (Heath Island,) on condition that he would rebuild the castle, and keep it in 
proper condition for the reception of the king, should the latter at any time be disposed to 
claim its keeper's protection or hospitality. This patent is said to be still in existence j and there 

8 The following is the passage in the legend, referring to That from the nobility of the mother, 

this arrangement :— Should always be the right to the sovereignty." 

" There were oaths imposed on them, — Hist. Britonum^ page 141. 

By fee stars, by the earth, I" See the Batik of Magh Rath, as translated by Dr. 

O'Donovan, page 277. 
vol. vni. s 


is an anecdote in connexion with it to the effect that, in the year 1 743, one of the MacNaghtens took 
forcible possession of the castle, (which then belonged to the Campbells,) and fitted it for the recep- 
tion of tixePretender, hoping that he might give him a call ! Duncan MacNaghten is mentioned in the 
annals of his time as in league with MacDougal, the Lord of Lorn, against Robert Bruce, at the 
battle of Dalree, for which he lost a portion of his estates. Sir Alexander, a descendant of Duncan, 
fell at the battle of Flodden. He was grandfather to Shane Dhu, or Black John MacNaghten, 
who, as above stated, was kinsman to the first Earl of Antrim, and became his principal agent in 
the management of the estates. 

John died in 1630, leaving one son, Daniel, who married a niece of the primate, George Dowdall. 
The children of this marriage were, a son, John, who inherited the family estate and resided at 
Benvarden, near Ballymoney, and two sisters, married respectively into the families of Willoughby 
and MacManus. John married Helen Stafford, sister to the Bight Hon. Edward Francis Stafford, 
of Portglenone. He was succeeded by his son John, who married a Miss MacManus, and was 
for many years a popular and respected magistrate in his own neighbourhood. Tho latter died, 
when his son and successor, John MacNaghten, was only a child six years old. Tho career of this boh 
was melancholy, and his fate appalling. He was born about the year 1722, and educated first at 
Baphoe, and afterwards in Trinity College, Dublin. Even while attending school he became addicted 
to gambling, and continued a slave to that vice until it finally led to his ruin. He was compelled, 
when very young, to sell a part of his estate and mortgage the remainder, in order to meet his 
gambling debts. His first wife was a daughter of Dean Daniel, and sister to Lady Massereene . 
Her husband's reckless conduct was the cause of her death, — an event, however, which he sincerely 
deplored. His affairs soon after became desperate; but he still had influential friends who pitied 
him and helped him. Lord Massereene obtained for him the appointment of collector of taxes for 
the County of Coleraine, worth upwards of £200 a-year; and Mr. "Workman, who had married his 
sister, became his security in a bond of £2,000. In less than two years he lost this situation, 
having embezzled £800 of the public money. In an evil hour, Andrew Knox, Esq., of Prehen, 
near Derry, invited the now friendless MacNaghten to spend a few weeks at Mb house, until Borne 
other situation might offer. He instantly formed the design of marrying Miss Knox, a girl of only 
fifteen years of age, but an heiress in her own right. MacNaghten induced her to read over with 
him the marriage ceremony in the presence of a third person, and then claimed her as his wife. 
Her father of course, resisted, and finally set aside the claim in the Court of Delegates. When 
Miss Knox was afterwards being removed to Dublin, accompanied by her father and mother, 
MacNaghten, with a servant and two tenants, surrounded the carriage on the road, about three miles 
from Strabane, for the purpose, as he alleged, of rescuing his wife. Mr. Knox was attended by two 
or three men servants, well armed, and a scuffle instantly ensued on the carriage being stopped. 
Several shots were fired by both parties. MacNaghten, having been wounded in the back, came 


forward and fired deliberately into the carriage, with the intention of shooting Mr. Knox. The 
contents of the gun, however, entered Miss Knox's side, and she died after a few hours of 
agony, during which Bhe uttered no complaints against any one, and only prayed fervently to be 
released from suffering. This melancholy affair occurred on the 10th of November, 1760. The 
names of MacNaghten's three associates were, George M c Dougall, James M c Carrell, and Thomas 
Dunlap. Two hours after the murder, MacNaghten was taken after a fierce struggle, in which he 
first endeavoured to shoot his captors and then himself. M c Dougall and M°Carrell escaped, but 
Dunlap was caught in a house at Ballyboggy, near Benvarden. He and his master were imprisoned 
in Lifford jail until the 11th of the following December, when they were both tried, found guilty 
of the murder, and sentenced to death. "When sentence was pronounced, MacNaghten implored the 
judges to have meroy on Dunlap, whom he spoke of as " a poor, simple fellow, his tenant, and not 
guilty of any crime." MacNaghten's defence of himself at the trial drew tears from many eyes; 
and his general deportment afterwards was such as to make him an object of interest to the people 
of the town and neighbourhood of Lifford. No carpenter could be found to erect the gallows, 
and an uncle of Miss Knox, with the assistance of some friends, was obliged to provide one, rather 
than see the criminals hanged from a tree; the Bmith who knocked off the hand-cufia from 
MacNaghten, as a preliminary to the execution required by law, did so under compulsion ; and the 
hangman had to be brought all the way from Cavan. MacNaghten conducted himself with the greatest 
coolness and dignity, declaring repeatedly that the anticipation of death was much more dreadful 
than the reality. To make his exit as easy and speedy as possible, he adjusted the rope securely 
on his own neck, and ascended to the very top of the ladder before throwing himself off, that the 
struggle might thus be terminated in a moment. The rope broke ! The immense crowd uttered a 
triumphant shout, and urged him to escape, making way for him in all directions. But no. He 
calmly remounted the ladder, remarking, as tradition affirms, that no one would ever have to point 
at him or speak of him as half-hanged MacNaghten. The rope was knotted and adjusted as before, 
and after having done MacNaghten to death, it was removed to perform the same offiee for his 
wretched tenant and associate in crime. Their bodies were buried in one grave, behind the church 
of Strabane. 

On the death of John MacNaghten, who left no children, the Benvarden property was Bold, 
and passed out of the family. He had a younger brother, who visited him twice during his 
imprisonment, and who became the founder of the Ballyboggy branch of the family. The 
MaeNaghtens of Bushmills descend from an uncle of the unfortunate John MacNaghten, who was 
born in the year 1678, and was the first person of the name who owned the Beardiville property. 
From his uncle, the graceless nephew had large expectations ; but his conduct so thoroughly dis- 
gusted the old gentleman that he determined his property should not pass to a person unworthy of 
his name. To make this matter certain, the uncle married a young wife when he himself had 


attained the patriarchal age of eighty-two. This lady was the daughter of John Johnston, Esq., 
of Belfast. Mr. MacNaghten settled his estate upon her during her life, provided she had no family: 
and this arrangement is said to have rendered the nephew desperate, and to have hastened the catas- 
trophe in which he so ignobly perished. 

The patriarchal owner of Beardiville had two sons born to him, lived until he had entered 
on his one hundred and third year, and assisted at the family celebration observed on his younger 
son's coming of age. He remembered the siege of Deny quite distinctly, and could enumerate the 
names of the tenants on his father's estate who were present in the Maiden City during that 
memorable time. He was succeeded by his son, Edward Alexander MacNaghten, born in the 
month of August, 1762. This gentleman was one of the representatives of the County of Antrim 
in the Irish Parliament for many years. He obtained another distinction, which, although unsub- 
stantial, was perhaps gratifying. His kinsmen of the sept of MacNaghten in Argyleshire elected 
him to the chieftainship of the clan, and this honour has descended to his successors. A patent 
was issued, and duly registered in the Herald's Office, conferring this dignity, in the year 1832. 
This very unusual proceeding was not brought about by any solicitation from Mr. MacNaghten, but 
simply from a conviction on the part of the clansmen that his rank and position would enable him 
to uphold the honours of the name more worthily than any Scottish gentleman then connected with 
the family. It was done on the old ttmut principle, and is perhaps worth mentioning as one of the 
latest illustrations of that law with which we are acquainted. It is not improbable, however, that 
similar cases may still occur among the remnant of the clans in the North Highlands of Scotland. 
The laird of MacNaghten had lost the greater part of his estates by joining Montrose; and extravagance 
and negligence afterwards completed the ruin of the Scottish branch. The last laird was evicted from 
the remnant of the estates by relentless creditors, and for small debts, the sum total of which did 
amount to more than half the value of his little patrimony. His eldest son became a captain in the 
Scottish foot guards, and closed his life " on a blood-red field of Spain." His younger son obtained 
an appointment as a custom-house officer, and died in obscurity, at some port on the eastern coast 
of Scotland. So, the shores of Lochfine and Lochaw know them no more; and their ancient castle 
of Dunarato has disappeared from the rock which it occupied through so many stormy centuries, on 
the western side of the former of these lakes. 1 

Whilst the Scottish branch of the family thus decayed, the plant that had taken root in Irish 
soil became every year more vigorous and flourishing. Edmund Alexander MacNaghten, of Bear- 
diville, died in 1832, after reaching the seventieth year of his age. He was succeeded by his 
brother, the late Erancis Workman MacNaghten, born in 1763. At an early period of his life, 
the latter selected the East as the field of effort ; and when he retired, he bore away from ibis field 
an ample harvest both of honours and riches. In 1809 he received the honour of knighthood, on 
' See Buchanan's Jxaent Scottish Bmumes, pages 67 & 68. 


being appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature, at Madras. In 1815 he •was trans- 
ferred from Madras to the more responsible and remunerative position in Bengal. In 1825 he 
returned to his native place, and enjoyed the remainder of his long life as country gentlemen with 
ample means generally like to do — in plantings and primings — immured in rural blessings and 
recreations, with occasionally the variety of presiding on the magisterial bench of the nearest village. 
In 1836 he was created a baronet, and bore his honours becomingly until his death, which occurred 
in 1843, when ho was eighty-eight years of age. 

In 1787, he had married Letitia, the daughter of Sir William Dunkin, another successful 
Indian lawyer, who had risen also to be a judge in the Supreme Court of Judicature, at Calcutta, 
and retired at last to spend the evening of his days at Clogher, near B ushmills . This marriage 
was blessed with a numerous family, as the following list will show: — 1. Sir Edmund Charles, the 
present baronet. In 1827 he married Mary, the only child of Edward Gwatkin, Esq. He is a 
barrister-at-law, and at the time of his father's death, was a Master in Chancery, at Calcutta. 
2. William Hay, of the Bengal service, who was created a baronet in 1839, and assassinated 
two years afterwards, at Caubul. 3. Francis, in the Bengal service, and married to Miss Connolly. 
4. Elliot, of the Supreme Court of Judicature, Calcutta, and married to Miss Law. 5. John Dunkin, 
a cavalry officer, in the service of the late East India Company. 6. Stewart, of the Middle Temple. 
7. Anne, married to the Eev. Bichard Olpherts, and since dead. 8. Eliza Serena, married to 
Major Sewell. 9. Letitia, married to David Hill, Esq., of the late East India Company's civil 
service. 10. Matilda, married to John Trotter, Esq. 11. Jane Bussell, married to Thomas Go wan 
Vibart, Esq., of the Bengal service. 12. Maria, married to Thos. Boberts Thellnsson, Esq. 
13. Caroline, married to Alfred Chapman, Esq. 14. Alicia, married to George Probyn, Esq. 
15. Ellen. 16. Hannah. 

The second son, Sir William Hay MacNaghten, was British envoy to the Shah Soojah, at the 
time of his death, which happened on the 23rd f December, 1841, in the 48* year of his age. 
He was assassinated by Mohammed Akbar Khan, the son of the celebrated Dost Mohammed. On pre- 
tence of entering into amicable arrangements with the British authorities, the Lidian chief invited Sir 
William to a conference. The latter consented, and went to the place of meeting, accompanied by 
four officers and a small escort. Soon after the opening of the meeting, Mohammed Akbar drew a 
pistol and shot him dead. Captain Trevor, one of the four officers, was cut down in attempting to 
rescue his chief; the other three were taken prisoners. MacNaghten's head was cut off, and 
paraded throughout the town, the mouth filled with a portion of his mutilated body, and the nose 
surmounted with the green spectacles he had worn when living. "Thus perished," says Kayo, 
(the historian of the War in, Affghmistm,) " as brave a gentleman as ever, in the midst of fiery 
trial, struggled manfully to rescue from disgrace the reputation of a great country. Whatever may 
be the judgment of posterity on other phases of his character and other incidents of his career, the 


historian will ever dwell with pride upon the unfailing courage and constancy of the man who, 

with every thing to discourage and depress him, and Burrounded by all enervating influences, was ever 
eager to counsel the nobler and manlier course, ever ready to bear the burdens of responsibility, 
and face the assaults of danger." 

The original burial-ground of the MaeNaghtens, on their coming to Ireland, was Bun-na-Mairge, 
near Ballycastle. In the south wall of what was once the grand chapel of the monastery, and at 
a little distance to the right of the entrance to the Antrim vault, the following inscription, on a 
large red free-stone slab, is still legible : — 



IN • THE • TEAR ■ OP - OTTR " LORD • QOD • 1630 . " 

The above is the epitaph over the grave of Shane Dhu (Black John) MacNaghten, already 
mentioned. Bun-na-Mairge has been long abandoned by the family as a place of sepulture. 


The MacNeixls of the Antrim coast descend from the Hy-Niall race, many of whom undoubt- 
edly emigrated to North Britain in the Dalriadic movement already referred to. Indeed, it may 
be Bafely asserted, that to a prince of their race that movement was mainly indebted for its ultimate 
success. The Cruithnians or Picts were sometimes more than a match for the Antrim colonists in 
Scotland ; and on one occasion the latter were expelled almost to man, and forced to return to the 
Irish Dalriada, under the guidance of their prince, Eochy, or Eochad Muinreamhair. During the 
century which followed this expulsion, many attempts were made by the Irish to re-establish 
themselves on the opposite shores. All these efforts, however, were without success, until 
the Sy-NiaU (O'Neills,) became the ruling power in Ireland, and sent forth a sufficient 
force under the command of Zoom, the son of Erck, the son of Eochtd Muinreamhair, which not 
only reconquered the lost territory in North Britain, but added other possessions. It is curious how 
these historical events are corroborated by a passage in the Vita Septima Sancti Patricii, published 
by Colgan in his Trim Thaumatwrga. The author of that Life of the saint states that, while Patrick 
went about preaching Christianity from place to place, he came to the Qlynns, in which the family 
of the above-mentioned Muinreamhair ruled, at the very time he was writing, probably about twenty 
years after the saint's death. 

The Hy-Niall race of princes, notwithstanding some serious faults, were always popular. 
They all, more or less, felt the responsibility inseparable from the position of rulers, and accepted 
the elevation to regal authority as a trust to be held for the security and happiness of their subjects. 
History has not failed to record this admirable qualification, which, even at the present day, is so 


seldom found among the groat ones of the earth. 'When the descendants of these princes re- 
appear as chiefs of the MacNeills of Scotland, they still, after centuries of change and vicissitude, 
retain much of the same generous nature. The MacNeills of Barra (from whom the extinct Antrim 
branch descended,) are represented as maintaining the most harmonious relations among themselves 
as a clan. The chief and his people were always mutually attached to each other; the former 
holding himself bound to compensate the clansmen for any losses suffered by them from misfortune 
or war. As landlord, ho also provided for the support of such as were unable, whether from sick- 
ness, accident, or old age, to make provision for themselves. The result of this ancient, unwritten, 
but perfectly valid arrangement may be easily supposed. The MacNeills, as a clan, were proverbial 
for loyalty to their chiefs. Philosophical tourists to the Island of Barra, whilst deprecating the 
stern and suspicious bearing of the natives towards strangers, are loud in praises of their union 
among themselves, and their uncompromising fidelity to their chiefs. The principal fortress of the 
clan was situated on the little isle of Kismul, near Barra, in which a watchman and constable were 
stationed day and night. These functionaries were so faithful to their trust, that neither book- 
compilers nor prying philosophers could succeed, even by the most earnest entreaties, in gaining 
access to the building during the absence of the chief. The watchman for the time being was 
required to call out at intervals, if for no other purpose, at least as an evidence of his vigilance. 
His announcements, moreover, were expected to be made in rhymes, which were handed down, cut 
and dry, from generation to generation. It is quite certain, however, that the MacNeills had bardic 
tendencies from nature, as their clan was celebrated for supplying some of the most favourable 
specimens of the class known as harpers in former times. The hereditary harpers to the MacLeans 
of Dowart, in Mull, were MacNeills. One particular family of the latter furnished bards, in suc- 
cession, to the clan Ranald (MacDonnells) for the space of nearly six hundred years. The last was 
Lachlan MaoNeill, who, in establishing his right to certain lands, declared on oath, before Roderick 
MacLeod, Esq., J.P., and a number of clergymen, that he was the 18th in descent whose ancestors 
had officiated as bards to the MacDonnells of the Isles ; and that they enjoyed, as salary for their 
office, from generation to generation, the farm of Staoiligary, and four pennies of Brimisdale. Their 
duties were, to preserve and continue the genealogy and history of the MacDonnells. This gentle- 
man was styled bard, genealogist, and seanachaidh. Dr. MacPherson, in a letter to Dr. Blair, 
describes Lachlan MacNeill as " a man of some letters, and who had, like his ancestors, received 
his education in Ireland, and knew Latin tolerably well. k 

The MacNeills, on coming to the Antrim coast, had no settled place of residence ; but, like 
others of their countrymen similarly circumstanced, kept moving about in the Glynns, as suited 
their convenience in those troublesome times. On the suppression of Tyrone's rebellion, more 

k See Logan's Scottish Gael, vol. i., pp. 185, 383; vol. ii., pp. 217, 268. Where in Ireland were those Gaelic bards 
prepared for their work ? 


peaceful years ensued. One of the earliest grants made on the Antrim, property was that which 
conveyed the lands constituting the BaUyeattle Estate to Hugh MaoNeill. Tradition affirms that 
MacNeill had previously resided by the side of the old road leading from Cushindall to Ballycastle, 
and that the grant in the fertile region around the latter town was given to him in consideration of 
assistance or service rendered to the MacDonnells on some emergency, the precise nature of which 
is not known. The grant is dated on the 9th of November, 1612, and it describes Hugh MacNeill 
as of Bunynie castle, constable and gentleman. This castle, the ruins of which still exist, was the 
principal residence in the district at that period ; and, judging from its solid masonry, aa well as its 
position on a cliff more than three hundred feet above the sea, it must have been a formidable fortress. 
It stood about half-a-mile west of the present town of Ballycastle, and the place is now known as 
Bun-na-Neenie. The names of the several lands, as recited in this grant, are as follow, viz.: 
" The townland of Ballrentinney ; the quarterland of the Brumemore and Litcalhn; the quaxteriand 
called Brumnaeree, and quarter of Ballyvamyne; the quarterland called Bromand; the quarterland of 
Bally migs; the forty acres of Clanecuhan; the five acres of Craigmore; and the five acres land of 
Port BretU; together with the constableship and keeping of the market towns or villages of Bunynie 
and Ballycashan, with the customs thereof." 

Brummemore is now Bromore, and Lisoallen is known as Cnoo-na-Cellach. Bromand has 
changed slightly to Drummans. The forty acres of Clan- Cashan included the village of Ballycashan, 
which afterwards became the town of Ballycastle. Port Bretts was the landing-place in Marhton 
(or more correctly Mairge-town) Bay, and must have been a place of some importance even so recently 
as the date of this grant, which stipulates that Sir Randall MacLonnell and Lady Alice O'Neill, 
his wife, were to have the customs of " wynne, oil, and aqua-vitae," arising from the trade in these 
commodities. The village of Bunynie has wholly disappeared from the hill. It was originally 
created, no doubt, by the combined influence of the castle and of the fair which was held near it 
in former days. Port-Bretts is a corruption for "Bort-Britue, or "BoTt-Britas, a name which is now 
obsolete in all its forms, but which we have seen written Porfbrittis, and occasionally Portbritas, in 
old rent-rolls and other papers of the Antrim estates in the seventeenth century. It may, perhaps, 
have been originally derived from Britus, whom the Irish legends represent as of the family or race 
of Nemedh, one of the earliest colonizers of Ireland. For some reason which we have not seen 
explained, the Irish legend adds the epithet Maol to Britus ; and it is curious that the earliest 
recorded name of this northern part of the channel between Ireland and Scotland is Sruth-na-Maoile, 
" the course or curront of the Moyle." If that famous colonist has thus left his name in connexion 
with the channel, he must have lived at a very early period, as Sruth-na-Maoile has had time since 
his day to become the scene of an ancient mythological romance. On its waters, the three daughters 
of Zir, changed into swans, were doomed to sojourn until the dawn of Christianity in Ireland, 
when the first sound of the " church-going bell" was to be the signal for their release !' The poet 

1 See The Ulster Journal of Archaeology, vol. i., page 230. 


Moore has enshrined this old faith — or fable if you will — in his beautiful song of Timnuala; haying 
first met with it, he says, " among some manuscript translations from the Irish, which were begun 
under the direction of that enlightened friend of Ireland, the late Countess of Moira." Fionnuala 
was the name of one of the doomed daughters of Lir ; and the poet represents her as thus, naturally 
enough, expressing her anxiety to be relieved from Sruth-na-Maoile : — 
" Sadly, oh Moylc, to thy winter-wave weeping, 

Fate bids me languish long ages away; 
Yet still in her darkness doth Erin lie sleeping, 

And still doth the pure light its dawning delay." 
If Port-Britus, however, does not actually bear the name of an early Nemedian colonist, the place 
must have been bo called from the fact of its being known as a port available for purposes 
of trade and emigration between this country and Britain. The name may have thus come 
originally into use so early as the first century, when many of the inhabitants of Britain sought 
a refuge on these shores, to live peaceably beyond the reach of the Roman legions which then 
advanced victoriously from the south. Richard of Cirencester is said to have preserved certain 
curious notices of the British emigration into Ireland, at the period now mentioned, but we have 
not had an opportunity of consulting that early chronicler. "With respect to the motives which 
induced the Britons thus to seek a home in Ireland, the prevailing opinion is, that they pre- 
ferred the comparative quiet and security of this country to the numerous changes, in the shape of 
improvements, which the Romans were introducing into Britain. The emigrants — or rather, in this 
case, immigrants — were content to bid adieu to their old homes, rather than encounter the insolence 
of their conquerors; and sought the Irish shore, " that they might not lose sight of that liberty in 
their old age, which in their younger years they had received pure and uncorrupted from nature."™ 
The Dunynie grant stipulated that Hugh MacKeill was to pay "nyne pounds" rent 
yearly, in two equal payments, at the first day of November, and the first day of May; 
and also a fair proportion of the rent payable to the king out of the Route and Glynns. 
He was to forfeit five shillings per day for every day the rent remained unpaid after it 
became due ; and at the end of fifteen days, his " chattels were to be pryced by four sworn 
men, and sold for the amount due." In case of non-payment of rent for a whole year, the 
grant became null, and the landlord would be at liberty to resume the possession, of his lands. 
Should the tenant "alien" any part of the lands, without permission from the landlord, or Bhould he 
or his heirs "misbehave themselves, either in obedience, troth, or loyaltie," they would thus forfeit 
their title to the estate. MacSeill and his heirs were bound, by the terms of the grant, to do 
suit and service to the Courts Leet and Court) Baron established on the landlord's estates ; and 
should they take any cause for trial into the sheriff's court, they would subject themselves to 

■a Camden's Britannia, page 342, of the Edition of 1723. 
VOl. Vin. I 


a penalty, for so doing. They were farther required to have their grain made into meal at the mill 
of the landlord, paying toll and muloture to the same ; and to appear at every general Hosting, 
with as many men and arms as were proportioned to the extent of their lands. 

The only remaining point in this document worthy of notice is a clause which reserves to Sir 
Randall MacDonnell and Lady Alice O'Neill the right of residence, should they wish it, at either 
or both of the villages of Dunynie and Ballycashan. They availed themselves of this privilege 
eighteen years afterwards, (at least in reference to the latter place,) where they erected a castle, 
(1628-1630,) being attracted to the locality, no doubt, by the surpassing beauty of its natural 
scenery. On this spot stood the castle of James MacDonnell, whioh was Btormed and taken by 
Shane O'Neill, in April, 1565. Shane's celebrated letter, giving an account to the Lord Justice 
of his great victory over the Scots, is dated from Boile-Caishin, on the 2d of May, in that year. 
In this letter, O'Neill describes Ms sudden march upon the Scots — his conflict with Sorley Boy 
as he approached this town and castle, which he states belonged to James MacDonnell ; — the siege 
of Boile-Caiselin ; — the arrival of forces from Scotland, and the occurrence of a great battle, in which 
James and Sorley Boy were taken prisoners, and their brother ADgua slain, with 700 or 800 Soots." 
The place has since exchanged its old name for the more modern one of Bally •castle. The position 
was, indeed, tastefully selected. The whole beautiful vale extending to the beach was one open 
space, and formed a part of the castle park. Besides the grand coast scenery north and east, the 
castle commanded a full view of that charming Glen between Armoy and Ballycastle, along which 
was the ancient path of communication from the former place to the coast. In this castle, the family 
of the first Earl of Antrim occasionally resided; and at his death, in 1636, his Countess, with her 
two daughters, removed from Dunluce, and lived at Ballycastle until the end of 1641. There are 
still a few lingering traditions of Alice O' Neill in the place, none of which are partic alarly complimen- 
tary to her memory. An old gentleman, the last male representative of the once powerful family of 
MacAlaster, of Kinban Castle, used to tell an anecdote of the Lady Alice, whioh, he said, had 
been handed down in his family. On one occasion, the body of a dead infant was found in the 
immediate vicinity of the castle. There was something like an investigation as to the cause of the 
death, required by the new laws and arrangements introduced at the time of the Plantation of Ulster. 
The countess, who cherished her family hatred of everything English, was of opinion that there 

"See Calendar of State Papers, just published, and bo ferreil to. It is much more likely, for instance, tliat O'Neill 
ably edited by Hans C. Hamilton, Esq., page 260. Shane would advance on Ballycastle by the glen on the north- 
O'Neill's letter does not name the field of battle; but the western side of KnocMaydt, stretching from Armoy, than 
Annals of Ireland state that it was Olmnn-taissi, or Gleann- through Glenshesk, whose approaches were not, certainly, 
taoise, which has been generally supposed to be Qlenshetk. very tempting to a large force. The stream in the glen 
Although this glen was the scene of many such conflicts, leading from Armoy is now called the 2bw, and the ancient 
there are one or two circumstances which tend at least to Oleann-taissi or taoise would be anglicised 6len-Tov3, hot 
weaken the conclusion that it witnessed the battle now re- Glenshesk. 


was a great deal too much fuss made about so small a matter as the death of an infant. She is 
reported to have exclaimed in Irish, "The devil! Why all this parade about a dead infant! 
Often have I seen such things at my father's castle !" " 

We find that the grant was signed, "Randal MaeDonnell," and "John Steward, X his 
marke, as a Ffeoffee." The latter signed as a witness. He was the first settler of the name of 
Stewart in the parish of Ballintoy ; and, although in the rank of a gentleman, he was evidently unable 
to sign his name. This inability, however, was not remarkable in an age when even the gentry, 
particularly of the Scottish Isles, had no time to devote to literary refinement. The poorest 
peasant on the Ballintoy estate, at the present day, would be an overmatch in the art of writing 
for the distinguished original " Ffeoffee" who has left his scratch by way of mark on this old deed. 

On the ninth of December, 1612, just a month subsequently to the date of the grant, it is 
recorded on the document that John MacNaghten, " a true and lawful attorney," gave possession 
to Hugh MacNeill of the townland of Brummemore (Bromore), in the name of all the other lands 
specified. One of the witnesses to this proceeding was " Henry Quinne," The name of the other 
is rather a puzzle ; it looks like " MaeQwilhn T."— -probably a MacQuillan. There are still a few 
very poor families of this name in the parish of Bamoan, but they are now called MacQuilkina. 

The MacNeills of Dun-na-neenie Castle continued to hold their lands in peace during the life 
of the first Earl of Antrim. In the time of the second Earl, they were required to furnish supplies 
of men to the "Hostings" against the Irish rebels of 1641, a duty to which their political senti- 
ments cordially prompted them. 

In the time of the third Earl, who was a very determined Koman Catholic, some diflloulty arose 
as to the MacHeills' title to their property. Certain law proceedings, the precise nature 
of which I cannot ascertain, were instituted by Hugh MacNeill, a Bon of the gentleman named in 

o Boring the time of the great rebellion conducted by the Route, he concludes in these words : " / have often sayd 

Hugh O'Neill, father to the Countess of Antrim, dead and written yt is famine that must consume them; our swords 

children were no uncommon sights ; and living children and other indeavours works not that speedie effect which it 

were sometimes found eating their dead mothers! Sir expected; for their overthrowes are safeties to the speedie 

Arthur Chichester's policy was, that " hunger would be a runners, upon which we kyll no multetudes." 

better, because speedier, means of destruction to employ This stolid monster, but famous statesman and soldier, 

against the Irish than the sword." But, as far as possible, jQ e( j jjjx f honours, and lies buried at Caraickfergus. 

he wielded both with the most revolting and fiendish The following lines are part (and only a very small part) of 

complacency. He speaks of a journey he made at this time, his wordy epitaph: 

from Carrickfergus to the neighbourhood of Dungannon, "Within this bedd of death a Viceroy lyes, 

along the banks of Lough Neagh, in the following terms : — Whose fame shall ever live ; Virtue ne'er dyes : 

"/ burned all along the Lough, within four miles of Dun- For he did virtue and religion norishe, 

gannon, and killed 100 people, sparing none, of what quality. And made this land, late rude, with peace to nourish," 

age, or sex soever, besides many burned to death; we kill man, The reader may see the whole production, prose and 

woman, and child; horse, beast, and whatsoever we find.'' verse,in McSkimmin'sSistoryqf Carrickfergus. (^dedition, 

After detailing the circumstances of a similar journey into pp. 149, 151.) 


the original grant. The defendants in the suit were the Earl of Antrim (Alexander MaoDonnell), 
Daniel MaoDonnell, Esq., and -33neas or Angus Black. These proceedings required the production 
of the old Deed of 1612 ; and accordingly it was produced at Bushmills, on the 28th of April, 
1686, and sworn to as genuine by Robert Kennedy, Alexander Macaulay, Bryan (Bryce ?) Danlop, 
Heal MacNeill, and Owen O'Mullan, Esquires. The witnesses to this act were Charles Steward, 
Robert Griffith, and John MacNaghten. The plaintiff in this suit had, no doubt, maintained his 
right and title intact, as the estate descended in due course to his son Daniel. The family of the 
latter consisted of two children, a son. and daughter. The son did not inherit. One account states 
that he diod before coming of age, and another that he was of unsound mind. The estate then 
passed to his sister, Rose MaoNeill, who married the Rev. William Boyd, rector of the parish of 
Ramoan. The Ballycastle estate thus passed to the family of Boyd, in which it has remained to 
the present time. 

There are other families of NacNeills on the coast, but if connected at all with the old line of 
Dunynie, it must*be in a very remote degree. The late John MaciVSsafe, of Ballycastle, descended 
from Neale MacNeill, who, in 1686, was one of th<Tvouchers, at Bushmills, for the genuineness of 
the old grant of 1612, as already stated. His family, probably, was the nearest collateral branch 
to the main stock. The original Hugh MacNeill, is represented, through Ms great grand-daughter 
Rose, by Hugh Boyd, the present owner of the estate, and Alexander Boyd, his brother, now 
residing at Ballycastle. 

The family burying-ground of the MacNeills was Ramoan. In the north wall of this very 
ancient cemetery, there was a tablet to mark their graves, but the inscriptions are now illegible. 
The rector, "William Boyd, who married Rose MacNeill, is also buried there. Their son, Hugh 
Boyd, built a church at his own expense in Ballycastle, having a vault underneath, which he him- 
self was the first to occupy, and in which his successors are interred. 

Belfast. Geo. 'Sill.